Fake it till you make it

Fake it till you make it.
Have you ever heard someone say it? I forget who I heard that slogan from, but there are times that I think it is necessary. We do need to fake it till we make it. This time I’m not going to exemplify using dreams and chasing them or stuff. I want to illustrate this saying with “emotions”.

Me at Point Arena Lighthouse, CA during my winter break trip. Dec 23, 2015.

I remember this story I read long time ago, forget where as well, forgive my forgetfulness. It’s about a daughter in law (DIL) who did not like her mother in-law (MIL). She felt that her MIL hated her. She was upset because her MIL always got to point out her mistakes, even when she did not think she did anything wrong. They were always arguing, quarreling. Neither was happy, and the DIL was grieving. One day she came to a clairvoyant (or sorcerer?). Not sure to call him but he turned out to be wise. The DIL asked for his help to get rid of her MIL. Hence this wise man gave her some potions saying that she had to cook nice food for her MIL and put some of the potion in it at least for a month (or a week? Again, I forget. Sorry). He stressed that whatever happened or however her MIL treated her, she should be patient and keep being and acting nice in order for the potion to work. The DIL agreed and went home happily. She cooked her MIL delicious food and treated her nicely even when the MIL treated her unfairly. Gradually, however, the MIL came to treat her nicer and nicer, very kindly as time passed by. This DIL came to genuinely love her MIL and believed that she loved her as well. She panicked and was scared as she remembered that the potion she put in the food for her MIL was poisonous and could kill her. She now did not want it to happen. Thus, she went back to the clairvoyant saying she regretted her request, begging him to save her MIL. She told him that now she loved her and that she might have misunderstood her at the very first place. She did not want to kill her MIL. The clairvoyant smiled and told her that the potion he gave her was not a poison but some medicine to keep one’s health. He told her that it’s her actions, kindness, and patience that make her MIL love her. He advised her to keep treating her MIL nicely. She sighed in relief, thanked him, and went back home even more happily.

So you see, the daughter in law faked it till she made it. She pretended to love her mother in love, being nice and kind to her until it was no longer a pretense; i.e. until she genuinely loved her, was nice and kind to her for real.

I’m telling this because I myself am not always happy. There are times that I am only pretending to be happy. Especially with this so-called womanly monthly hormonal cycles, where I can be oversensitive and get so down for no logical reason. Something like, “S/he always likes other posts and comments on them, but never or scarcely mine. Does s/he hate me? But s/he always contacts me when s/he needs me. Does s/he take me only for granted?” Or, “S/he always likes my posts in other countries but not those of Indonesia. Does s/he not like my country?” Or, “S/he often hangs out with others but rarely with me. Am I despicable?” Some might think these thoughts are childish and it is easy to say, “You think too much, do not overthink it.” I know. Perfectly. I tell myself the same much too often. I try to reason and talk to myself, “Is it a problem if s/he does not like you? You know you can’t make everyone like you.” We know the answer is no, i.e. it is not a problem, I can still go on with my life. But does it make the pain go away? Does it make me not upset or stop being sad all at once? No.

Me at Ranu Klakah, Lumajang, Indonesia.

Emotion is not something you think you should feel. It just happens. You just feel it. And that’s alright. Hence, sometimes I am just pretending to be okay with all of it till I do feel okay with it. I think it is just one way to ‘control’ one’s emotion or how one deals with it. Furthermore, I know I am an awkward person to be with. It can be hard and even burdensome for many. Even if I were somebody else and got to deal with myself or someone like me, I might not be able to handle it. But we all want to be loved. We all want to be happy. And for it to happen, sometimes we just need to pretend that we are, learn to accept and be okay with who or how we are, (without blaming others). Nobody can change us, no one can define us. But we can ourselves. How do we perceive and envision ourselves?

Life is not about being happy all the time. It’s about trying. Trying to be happy, trying to be okay, trying to overcome your feelings, trying to accept whatever you feel, realizing all of it will pass. Feelings, after all, are dynamic; they fluctuate. This applies to other things, too. Something like being kind, nice, patient, etc. We can’t be kind, nice, patient, etc. all the time. Sometimes we just have enough. But at least we know we can always try. We can always fake it till we make it.

PS: I’m not saying that you have to be fake or fake your feelings all the time, no. Sometimes it’s better to just let it all out: your anger, your frustration, your fury, etc. But if the negative feelings make you feel worse if you feed it, maybe it’s better to just ignore it and fake it until it goes away. You yourself know what’s best for you. You yourself know what works better for you. This is not the only way dealing with our emotions. This is just an alternative that we can always try. Will you try? Fake it till you make it? 🙂

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